Monday, November 29, 2010

Recipe: Kharam - Manglorean Cucumber Salad - Vegan

This dish is one of my favourites from my grandmothers repertoire of Manglorean vegetarian dishes. On the 8th of September for the Feast of the Nativity - Monthi Saibin Festh which our community also celebrates as the Harvest Festival, we eat an odd number of vegetarian dishes. When grandma was in charge, this normally meant 7 or 9 vegetables. With mum it was 5 (because her fussy children would protest about too many veggies in one meal) and if its me, we are lucky if I even make 3 vegetables Manglorean style.

This is essentially because my community focuses so much on meat and seafood in its meals, that the vegetables are an afterthought and just around for their fibre content. Not much effort is expended in cooking vegetables and we don't have too many varieties, so they all end up tasting the same. Till today, I have never ever cooked vegetables in the Fugath or Tel Piyao style - which is how vegetables are cooked at home 98% of the time.

This dish however is an exception. And I would always beg grandma to include this in the Nativity Menu. There is no cooking involved, but there is the grating and grinding of coconut. So its not a quick dish in that sense, unless you have access to fresh grated coconut like in the supermarkets of Bombay. 

Kharam is similar to a Kerala dish called Vellarikka Tharichathu, but there's no yoghurt in the Manglorean version.

4 Manglorean cucumbers (Manglorean cucumbers are plump, so if your cucumbers are on the thinner side, use 5-6)
1 coconut grated
4 large green chillies (adjust to taste)
1/2" ginger
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp mustard
salt to taste
fresh tamarind to taste (dried tamarind gives a dark blackish color, so I substituted with skinned green mango)

Coarsely grind everything except cucumbers.
You should still be able to sense the texture of the coocnut.
Dice the cucumbers, apply a little salt and leave for awhile to remove excess water. If the cucumber seeds are large, remove the seeds when dicing.
Mix the coconut mixture and serve slightly chilled as a salad/ acompaniment/ vegetable side dish.

I find that it also goes well with some kinds of Biryani

1 comment:

Shanthi said...

Nice space and a wonderful salad. Keep rocking.


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